Bergen is not always blessed with good weather, so sun from cloudless skies in summer means a rush to the outdoor areas by the sea. There is water on all sides, and each district has at least one well-equipped swimming area. You won't find long sandy beaches, but people make the best of what they have, and thrive on boulders and rocky coves where the kids can try out their swimming skills, look for crabs and get some sun on their bodies.

    The Bergen Outdoor Council ensures that all things you need are in place: parking, toilets, benches and tables, and a diving board in the most popular bathing areas. These are bustling with life in the height of summer, so then it's important to be out early, or be prepared to take the summer chaos with a smile.

    1

    Austrevågen

    Gentle Tide for Little Ones

    • Families
    • Budget

    Austrevågen is a small beach on Krokeide south of Bergen, which is particularly suitable for families with small children.. This is a lovely sandy beach with plenty of opportunities to look for crabs and other insects. Vågen is warm, which means the water is relatively warm too.

    There are benches and a seating area set up around a campfire on the grassy slope opposite the beach, but on hot summer days it's best to just roll out your towels on the grass and let the kids play. Parking is quite a distance away, on Krokeide ferry quay. The bus stop is closer, on Krokeideveien, just 500 metres from the beach.

    Location: Austrevågen, Krokeide, 5244 Fana, Norway

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    photo by Frode H. Korneliussen (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    2

    Gamlehaugen

    Royal Bathing Conditions in Nordåsvannet

    • Budget

    Gamlehaugen is the king's official residence in Bergen, and is surrounded by a beautiful park area with a beach zone. The royals have largely been absent since the Crown Prince used the castle as a dormitory when he studied in Bergen in the 1990s, and the park and beach are therefore open to the public.

    The bathing area is located in the innermost part of Nordåsvannet, which is actually a fjord arm, but has little water exchange and therefore quickly gets a nice bathing temperature in good weather. Gamlehaugen has a small area with a pebble beach and otherwise flat boulders that make it easy to get out and on land again. The very best thing about the Gamlehaugen is the lawns on the slope between the castle and the water's edge, with plenty of space, lovely views and green surroundings with magnificent vegetation.

    Location: Gamlehaugvegen 10, 5230 Paradis, Norway

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    3

    Grønevika

    Idyllic Bathing Spot in Arboretet on Milde.

    • Families
    • Budget

    Grønevika is a popular bathing area adjacent to the Arboretum at Milde. It is well-organised with various facilities and an exceptionally beautiful local area. The location inside the arboretum means a bit of a walk from the car park, but in return, the car park is big, and the walk to the beach is beautiful through extremely peaceful surroundings.

    The beach benefits from facilities such as toilets, tables and benches, a barbecue area and a place to dispose of any disposable BBQs and other waste. People with reduced mobility will appreciate the ramp with railings leading down to the water. On a small headland at the entrance to the bay there is a diving board and boulders that also make a great place to settle for an afternoon. The small grassy hill by the beach fills up quickly, but inwards in the Arboretum there is plenty of space.

    Location: Mildeveien 240, 5259 Hjellestad, Norway

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    4

    Helleneset Beach

    Large Outdoor Area by Byfjorden

    • Families
    • Budget

    The Helleneset outdoor area sticks out in the middle of the Byfjord between the mainland and Askøy, and offers excellent facilities and a lovely view of the shipping lane. Good bathing conditions and a relatively central location only a 15-minute bus ride from the centre make this a very popular area, and it gets crowded on hot summer days.

    There is a small, sheltered sandy beach and a pool for the little ones, but also boulders and diving boards for the more experiences swimmers. There are toilet and shower facilities and a kiosk selling refreshments. Climbing enthusiasts can combine swimming with bouldering or climbing in bolted routes, including routes suitable for beginners and children.

    Location: Helleneset, 5039 Bergen, Norway

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    5

    Haukelandsvatnet

    FReshwater Beach in Bergenshalvøyen

    • Families
    • Budget

    Haukelandsvatnet is a small lake in the centre of the Bergen Peninsula, between Arna and Nesttun. Some fly fishermen try their luck at fishing here, and there are a couple of campsites right by the water. With its remote location and few buildings, the water is a good quality, and the bathing area is located by a closed small round cove at the southern end of the lake, where the temperature rises faster than in other parts of the water.

    The beach area itself is quite small, and the facilities are limited to benches and lifebuoys. It is worth remembering that there are no toilet facilities here. Parking is limited here too, and the nearest bus stop is around 500 metres outside Hardangervegen.

    Location: Helleneset, 5268 Bergen, Norway

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    6

    Tømmervågen

    Child-friendly Cove with Large, Grassy Areas by Eidsvågen

    • Families
    • Budget

    Tømmervågen is a bathing place by Eidsvågen north of Bergen city centre, with a shallow beach and large grassy slopes at the forest edge along the sea. The bathing conditions here are highly suited to young children, who can splash around safely, try swimming a few strokes and hunt for sea creatures under the rocks.

    There is parking, toilet facilities and seating areas. The large grassy areas are perfect for all kinds of play, and also ensure that there is always plenty of space to roll out a towel. The knolls on the edge of the water have some good spots for fishing from on-land with a rod. Part of the area is managed by a local rowing and kayaking club, and Tømmervågen is an excellent starting point for a paddle trip.

    Location: Strandveien, 5105 Bergen, Norway

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    photo by trolvag (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    7

    Kyrkjetangen

    One of the City's Most Popular Beaches

    • Families
    • Budget

    Kyrkjetangen is the first choice for swimming in the summer among Bergen residents as it offers plenty of space, good conditions for children and warm water. This public are has a great location on Bøneset by Nordåsvannet south of Bergen city centre, with a large parking area, good bus services and cycle paths in all directions.

    The area benefits from large grasslands and a lovely selection of small coves with a sandy beach and boulders. There are several barbecue areas with benches and tables, and toilet facilities on the outskirts. There is a lot of boat traffic here in summer, but the swimming area is protected by bathing buoys. Popularity is the only downside - on sunny days during public holidays, traffic jams between the main road and the car park are guaranteed, so use your bike or legs if you can.

    Location: Kyrkjetangen, 5155 Bønes, Norway

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    8

    Melkeviken

    Beach Idyll by Fana Fjord

    • Families
    • Budget

    Melkeviken is a bathing place by the Fanafjord south of Bergen city centre, with large grassy areas and a long beach. The bay is protected in the innermost part of the fjord arm, and with forests on all sides, it is warm and pleasant. The area benefits from toilet facilities, picnic tables, benches and diving boards. The beach is shallow so it's easy to get out in the water, but a slightly rocky bottom means that those with sensitive feet should bring bathing shoes.

    There are parking options near the beach, but capacity is limited and fills up quickly when the sun is out on public holidays. There is good hiking terrain in the immediate vicinity in Hordnesskogen, Hordamuseet and Stend gardsbutikk, which can be fun places to visit for families who want to fill the whole day with activities.

    Location: Hordnesvegen 24, 5244 Fana, Norway

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    9

    Kalvtrevika

    Local Swimming Spot for Arna Residents

    • Families
    • Budget

    Kalvtrevika is a small swimming area by Arnavågen that benefits from all the facilities you need in peaceful surroundings. The grassy slopes opposite the beach have plenty of space, and lush vegetation and tall trees shield the bay from noise from the main road that passes right by.

    The location deep in Arnavågen ensures a pleasant bathing temperature, but visitors should be aware that the water quality may be lower than desirable a few days after heavy rain. The central location in Arna makes this a very popular bathing spot with locals in summer.

    Location: Storaneset, 5260 Bergen, Norway

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    10

    Garnes

    Arna's Prettiest Bathing Spot

    • Families
    • Budget

    Garne's outdoor area is located on the idyllic headland of the same name, at the far end of Arnavågen east of Bergen city centre. Bergen Undervisningsgård is right next door. This is not only a lovely place for children to visit, but also offers plenty of large meadows that make this a peaceful swimming area in green surroundings.

    The car park is just under 50 metres from the water's edge, and with a large beach, toilet and other facilities, you've got all you need for a day out with the family. Large huts with space for a camp fire means you can have fun here even in bad weather. Long beaches and large grasslands make it feel less crowded, even on hot summer days.

    Location: Garnestangen, 5264 Bergen, Norway

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